Chicago Blackhawks v Los Angeles Kings - Game Three

Sutter: Jeff Carter a ‘perfect role model’ for younger Kings forwards


The L.A. Kings are loaded with depth, a fact we’ve all been once again reminded of during these Stanley Cup playoffs. They’re loaded with reliable players throughout their lineup, with four players in the top five right now in post-season scoring.

Jeff Carter, with nine goals and 23 points, is second in that category, behind teammate Anze Kopitar. His numbers have been impressive, but Kings head coach Darryl Sutter praised Carter for his leadership as well, a mentor to younger, up-and-coming players like Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson.

Sutter also compared the big center to his teammate Mike Richards, subject to buyout speculation even though the Kings are three wins away from a Stanley Cup championship. Together, Carter and Richards were also part of L.A.’s 2012 team that took the silver chalice in dominating fashion.

Carter’s production during the regular season was well below a point-per-game average – a mark he hasn’t matched or gone over since 2008-09 in Philadelphia. He’s had individual success in each of the previous two post-seasons, but has broken out in a big way in 2014. And it’s not over yet.

“I think he’s sort of like Mike, where they just win. You can count on them all the time,” Sutter told reporters.

“Really great practice player. Well-trained guy. Takes care of himself. It’s funny, when you ask about that for Toffoli and Pearson, that’s a perfect role model for them.”

Larkin will start season with Red Wings

Dylan Larkin
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Dylan Larkin — despite being just 19 years old — will begin the season on the Detroit Red Wings, a team not normally accustomed to having teenagers in the lineup.

Coach Jeff Blashill confirmed the news this morning. Larkin could apparently start on a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader.

Larkin, the 15th overall pick in the 2014 draft, had three goals and one assist in five preseason games. A natural center, he’s shown the potential to one day step into the kind of “big-time” role that Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk have played for so long in Detroit.

“You have to give our scouts credit,” former coach Mike Babcock told ESPN in May. “We got a great pick where we picked. How high end is he? How soon?”

Related: Coaching change ‘one of the reasons’ Larkin signed with Wings

Preseason stats: Five goalies with good numbers, five goalies with…not

Anders Nilsson
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Yeah, yeah, it’s a small sample size and it’s just the preseason, but here are some goaltending stats anyway.

Five goalies with good numbers

Anders Nilsson, Edmonton — zero goals on 53 shots. His solid play a likely factor in the decision to waive Ben Scrivens, who actually wasn’t that bad in the preseason (4 goals on 56 shots).

Martin Jones, San Jose — three goals on 100 shots. The Sharks are rolling the dice on a couple of cheap goalies. Jones and Alex Stalock have a combined cap hit of just $4.6 million.

Jacob Markstom, Vancouver — three goals on 79 shots. Can he finally get over the NHL hump? If so, he could make it a real competition with Ryan Miller.

Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus — five goals on 122 shots. The Blue Jackets have scored a ton of goals in the preseason, but there remain questions about their blue line. Bobrovsky has the ability to make a so-so defense look good.

Anton Khudobin, Anaheim — two goals on 67 shots. A good early sign for the Ducks, who have Frederik Andersen in the starting role and want to give young John Gibson more time to develop in the AHL.

Five goalies with bad numbers

Thomas Greiss, Islanders — 14 goals on 94 shots. Has to be a bit of concern in Brooklyn. The Isles got below-average backup play last season from Chad Johnson. They wanted to fix that with the Greiss signing.

Robin Lehner, Buffalo — 11 goals on 95 shots. Tim Murray paid a hefty price to get the 24-year-old out of Ottawa. With the aforementioned Johnson in the backup role, the goaltending story is worth watching.

Jeff Zatkoff, Pittsburgh — 11 goals on 74 shots. Granted, Marc-Andre Fleury and Matthew Murray weren’t particularly sharp either. The Penguins conceded 28 goals in eight games.

Kari Lehtonen, Dallas — 15 goals on 84 shots. For a Stars team that desperately needs better goaltending, that has to be worrying. Antti Niemi wasn’t a whole lot better either, allowing eight goals on 65 shots. Fair question to ask — how many of all those goals were attributable to poor defensive play?

Pekka Rinne, Nashville — 12 goals on 91 shots. Has earned the benefit of the doubt, but thought we’d point it out anyway.